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I’ve been a bit obsessed with lace lately. Its spring and (sometimes) the days are sunny and that always makes me feel like wearing light, breezy lace. Something delicate and pretty that I can layer on in the chilly morning or whenever I walk indoors and get blasted in the face by an AC unit running on steroids. There is something more dignified about a wearing a graceful lace shawl around your shoulders as opposed to… a baggie, oversize hoodie that you bought from a department store.
So I’ve been thinking lace and looking at lace and I must be in a sentimental mood becasue the only lace that interests me these days is the traditional patterns from various knitting traditions. I love them all. Spanish lace always reminds me of bobbin lace, with small tightly made motifs. And French lace (lots of it) has this trick where it looks like it slants, like its knitted on the bias, even though its not. Russian lace seems to be all about the diamonds… or maybe that’s just what appeals to me most. Plenty of other traditions have diamond patterns but no one does diamonds like those Orenburg knitters.
And I’m studying all these lace patterns when I’m supposed to be focusing on Shetland lace. Shetland lace has lots of waves and eyelets and you usually find left slanting decreases matching up to right slanting decreases to make these beautiful symmetrical shapes. I’ve been trying to stay focused on Shetland lace becasue I have more experience with that style. There certainly seems to be more Shetland lace-type resources available… at least in English.
The Crown of Glory is one of those motifs from the Shetland Isles. Its a biblical reference, obviously, and would make a wonderful addition to any prayer shawl. (The Crown of Glory is one of five crowns mentioned in the bible and if those Shetlanders developed patterns for any of the other crowns, I can’t find them. That would sure be cool though…) The Crown of Glory is “vertical lace” becasue its a singular motif that stacks one on top of the other so it lends itself to being a vertical panel insert, like on the edges of a stole. Its not a difficult motif to make, only 13 stitches wide and 10 rows tall. But its never seen the popularity of Feather and Fan or Cats Paws like other Shetland lace motifs have.
I have a theory about that. While the Crown of Glory is not hard to knit, the directions are hard to write. There is that big eyelet to make and that requires less than traditional stitch techniques. When a knitter writes out the directions, which I’ve done below, it ends up sounds far more difficult than it actually is. How to make and knit into that big eyelet is much easier to demonstrate than to explain. Which is why we have youtube.
How to Knit the Crown of Glory
- Each crown begins on 13 stitches. That stitch count changes from row to row and doesn’t return back to 13 until near the end of the motif.
- Shaping happens on both the right side and wrong side.
- The big eyelet is made in Row 3 and then dealt with in Row 4. All the other rows are pretty standard fare for lace knitting.
- k – knit
- p – purl
- YO – yarn over (and increase)
- ssk – slip, slip knit (a decrease). I have a free tutorial for making ssk’s in both the standard way and with an easy modification that neatens them up a bit. I did not make use of that modification in this video. Didn’t want things to get too confusing.
- k2tog – knit next 2 stitches together (a decrease)
- p2tog – purl next 2 stitches together (a decrease)
- p2tog-b – next 2 stitches together through the back loop (a decrease)
- Inc 4 – the special stitch for this motif. In the previous row you will have made 3 yarn overs, one right after another. There will be 3 loops on your left needle. Start by dropping two of those loops. Now you have a big over-sized yarn over to work into. You’ll work into that big yarn over 5 times (which increases the stitch count by 4). Do this by (k1, p1) twice and then k1 once more all into the same stitch.
Row 1: ssk, k9, k2tog
Row 2; p2tog, k7, p2tog-b
Row 3: ssk, k2, YO 3 times, k3, k2tog
Row 4: p2tog, p2, Inc4, p1 , p2tog-b
Row 5: ssk, k6, k2tog
Row 6: p2tog, p6
Row 7: k1, (YO, k1) 6 times
Row 8: p
Row 9: k
Row 10: p
The most common instructions for this motif, indeed the only clearly written source I could find, is from page 173 of A Treasurey of Knitting Patterns by Barbra Walker. Notice that she calls for a multiple of 14 stitches. Those 14 include the crown and one stitch to space it out from the next crown.
You know, if Barbara Walker hadn’t included this motif in her first Treasury, I’m not sure we would still have it today. You don’t find many patterns that use this motif. I went looking for a knit pattern, something free, something that made good use of the Crown of Glory to link here. Couldn’t find one.
Seems to me that something should be done about that. Seems like a knitter should get with making a simple Crown of Glory pattern and publish it for free to help keep this venerable and freaking gorgeous, knitting pattern from disappearing.
I’m on it. I needed an excuse for a new project anyway ya know? So check back with me soon and I should have a free and easy pattern to practice making Crowns of Glory. Until then you can find my other free tutorials here and my free patterns here. Enjoy!